As mass protests, factory occupations and calls for an indefinite general strike spread against the dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak, the working class is emerging as the driving force of the Egyptian revolution.
Ten years ago, between January 25 and February 11, 2011, a revolution of the Egyptian working class overthrew the US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak that had ruled the country for decades. Weeks earlier, on January 14, US-backed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country by a revolution in that country. The events in Tunisia and Egypt were the highest point of a revolutionary upheaval concentrated in North Africa and the Middle East which spread internationally.
As the WSWS noted in a Perspective article published February 1, 2011, these events were of “of world historical significance.” They heralded the re-entry of the working class to the center of history. They disproved the bankrupt arguments of countless academics, philosophers and pseudo-left organizations as to the “End of History,” and claims that the working class could no longer be considered a revolutionary, or even progressive, social force. “History,” the WSWS noted, “has returned with a vengeance.”
The events of 2011 represent a crucial strategic experience for the working class internationally. Ten years later, brutal dictatorships hold power, and conditions of social inequality and poverty have only increased. This experience demonstrates the historic necessity of the building of a revolutionary Marxist leadership in the working class, as a prerequisite for socialist revolution. On this page, readers can find the most critical statements and analyses produced by the WSWS in the course of the revolutionary events of 2011 and in their aftermath.
The World Socialist Web Site hails the downfall of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. As significant as this event is, however, it is only the beginning of this struggle.
During the past few days a steady stream of reports has confirmed the increasingly decisive role of the Egyptian working class in the struggle against the Mubarak regime.
The Egyptian military’s communiqués make clear that it intends to divert and suppress the mass movement, while carrying out a tactical transfer of power to maintain the old regime.
In recent days a new wave of strikes and protests against the US-backed military junta has swept over Egypt.
This article analyzes the role of the pseudo-left organizations in opposing a struggle by the working class to bring down the military junta in Egypt.
Published here are the resolutions adopted by the Second National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (US), held July 8-12, 2012.
The massive protests in Tunisia were sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable cart vendor whose goods had been arbitrarily confiscated by the police. The desperate act of protest ignited simmering social anger caused by mass poverty, inequality and the lack of democratic rights. The protests immediately spread internationally precisely because the same conditions prevailed—and exist today—throughout the region and around the world.
The Tunisian uprising was dubbed by American foreign policy specialists as the first “Wikileaks Revolution.” This was a reference to the role played by Wikileaks, and its long-since persecuted founder Julian Assange, which published secret US diplomatic cables from Tunis exposing the corruption of the regime and the tacit support of US officials for its crimes.
After decades of triumphant reaction and suppression of the class struggle, the eruption of mass protests in Tunisia and the end to 23 years of repressive rule by President Ben Ali signal the emergence of a new era of revolutionary upheavals.
American foreign policy specialists have described the events in Tunisia over the past week as the “first WikiLeaks revolution.”
Various pseudo-left organizations in Europe and the United States are promoting the General Union of Tunisian Workers as the leading force of the uprising that toppled dictator Ben Ali.
The reaction of the French petty-bourgeois pseudo-left to the mass protests that forced Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from office demonstrates their allegiance to imperialism.
In response to the revolutionary upheavals across the Middle East, imperialism launched a counter-offensive. In Libya, the Obama administration and its European allies launched a bombing campaign to overthrow the government of Moammar Gaddafi. The intervention in Libya, strategically located between Egypt and Tunisia, was aimed at establishing a beachhead of counterrevolutionary operations in the region, while securing tighter imperialist control over the region's natural oil resources.
The United States and the European powers are seeking to carve up the oil-rich North African country.
Today’s international conference on Libya in London will be dutifully reported in the media as a gathering of concerned parties determined to honour their pledge to safeguard civilians from reprisals by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Among the most striking features of the US-NATO onslaught against Libya has been the widespread support that this “war of choice” has evoked among left-liberal parties and the affluent middle-class milieu that comprise an important part of their constituency.
The Syrian war must be seen not as a disconnected event, but as part of an escalating crisis of the international capitalist system.
The ISO’s May 1 statement “Solidarity with the Syrian revolution” is written in support of the imperialist-orchestrated conspiracy to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The New Anti-Capitalist Party’s support for the unprovoked military aggression against Libya by the US, Britain, and France brands the NPA and its co-thinkers in the Pabloite United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI) as political agents of French and world imperialism.
At the beginning of 2013, Egypt remained under the rule of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which came to power in the 2012 elections. A WSWS Perspective published January 30, 2013, warned of the increasingly open violence by the military against the working class, and called for the independent mobilization of the working class to seize power, in opposition to the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal National Salvation Front of Mohammed ElBaradei.
The bourgeois liberal parties joined with the pseudo-left, including the Revolutionary Socialists, in a campaign against the Mursi government, called the Tamarod (Rebel) movement. The Tamarod platform, which was supported by remnants of the former Mubarak regime, offered no alternative to Mursi. The military, headed by Defense Minister Abdel Fateh el-Sisi, used the Tamarod campaign as a screen for its preparation of a military coup, which was launched on July 3, 2013.
The coup was welcomed by the liberals and the pseudo-left, with both the RS and their international co-thinkers, the International Socialist Organization (ISO), issuing statements that portrayed the military as acting under popular pressure to remove Mursi. Within months, the military-based regime had consolidated itself through a bloodbath of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other anti-coup protesters. It organized sham show trials, convicting hundreds of people at a time, and sentencing leading Muslim Brotherhood members to death. Thousands of people remain crammed in the prison network, while Sisi, the butcher of Cairo, is hailed in the capitals of the world for his role in suppressing the Egyptian revolution.
As the second anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak approaches, the Egyptian working class is again being driven into revolutionary struggle.
Political lessons must be drawn from this week’s convulsive events in Egypt.
The Revolutionary Socialists have played a vital part in a political conspiracy against the Egyptian working class.
In a July 5 interview, ISO leader Ahmed Shawki declared his support for the military government that took power in Egypt on July 3.
The US-backed Egyptian military junta’s release of Mubarak symbolizes the advance of counterrevolution in Egypt since the July 3 coup.
The recent events in Egypt represent a defeat for the masses, but this does not mean the end of the revolution, it is rather the end of its initial stages.
Ten years after the Arab Spring across the Middle East, the conditions for new revolutionary struggles are more present than ever. This makes all the more critical the drawing of the lessons of this strategic experience by the most advanced sections of the working class. Key among these is the assimilation of the Trotskyist theory of Permanent Revolution and the establishment upon this basis of a new revolutionary leadership of the working class in the Middle East and Africa, sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
The Theory of Permanent Revolution was the perspective that guided the Bolshevik Party in Russia, in 1917, when it seized power and established the first workers state in history. It insists that in countries of a belated capitalist development, oppressed by imperialism, the bourgeoisie, including its liberal representatives, far more fearful of its own working class than the most brutal capitalist regime, cannot play any progressive role. The task of leading the revolution fall to the working class, leading behind it the peasantry and oppressed masses, in the fight for socialism.
The following lecture was given by David North, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in the US, on February 3, 1993 in Montreal. It was in commemoration of the life and political contribution of Keerthi Balasuriya, the longtime leader of the Sri Lankan section of International Committee of the Fourth International (then called the Revolutionary Communist League). Comrade Balasuriya died tragically of a heart attack in December 1987 at the age of thirty-nine.
The essential theoretical issues that arose in the struggle over these two opposed perspectives were not only fought out by Trotsky against the Stalinist bureaucracy in the latter half of the 1920s, but have reemerged as the subject of repeated struggles within the Fourth International itself.
The following is the text of a lecture given January 21, 2001 by David North, the chairman of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of the US, to an international school held in Sydney by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia.
Written as an appendix to Trotsky's projected biography of Lenin, and included in his unfinished biography of Stalin, this work contrasts the perspectives of the Russian Revolution advanced by Plekhanov, Lenin and Trotsky. He outlines the Menshevik position (“The social relations of Russia have ripened only for the bourgeois revolution”); Lenin's pre-1917 theory of the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry" (which Lenin discarded when he wrote his April Theses in 1917); and his own theory of permanent revolution, "the original sin of Trotskyism." He also traces Stalin's attitude to the debates as they unfolded, and shows how the theory of "socialism in one country" was a bureaucratic reaction against the October Revolution.